Stonehaven’s Robert Hudson has been experiencing life as a runner during the coronavirus pandemic from a South Korean perspective.
The 32-year-old Aberdeenshire athlete lives in Jeonju, south of Seoul, where he has been based for the best part of the past decade.
He grabbed the attention of the north-east distance running community last autumn when improving his marathon time on three occasions over a period of five weeks.
Hudson cracked the 2hr 30min barrier for the first time when clocking 2:29:40 in Berlin at the end of September.
Then he recorded 2hr 28min 56secs at Chicago, before slicing a further 27secs off that mark in New York.
That gave him 12th position in the 2019 Scottish marathon rankings.
Hudson hasn’t competed since then and, although maintaining a high-level training programme, he admits to missing the adrenaline kick which comes from racing.
He said: “The running scene is fortunate in some ways that we’ve been able to continue doing the hobby we enjoy through these unforeseen times.
“However, now we’re a few months on, I can’t deny that I’m really missing race days.
“That’s been my only negative so far though.
“Korea has never been in lockdown in the same way as the UK.
“Only after the initial outbreak did the Korean Government shut down department stores, gyms and swimming pools, but the restaurants, bars, and coffee shops all remained open with the guidelines of people wearing a protective mask and sanitising their hands upon entry.
“So life has carried on as normal.
“At the university where I work, we’ve been online for the whole semester, which has afforded me more time to run.
“Initially, I made the most of it by doing 90-98 miles a week – I couldn’t muster the energy to break 100 – with the sole focus being improving my base fitness.
“Then the Covid-19 situation improved and I dropped down to 75-80 miles a week thinking races were on the horizon again, but these never materialised.
“The mass events of a few thousand people or so were never likely to happen, but small local ones were potentially about to happen in mid-May.
“Then the virus returned and all local events kept getting cancelled a few days prior to each race.
“Now we’re in wave two and there’s absolutely no chance of races for the foreseeable future here.
“But, given the humid weather that’s started, I’m content with that.”